Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Season's greetings to all

Sou | 1:31 PM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment
A short, sweet and old-fashioned greeting to everyone.

I'm sorry I've not been blogging much this past couple of years, but fear not (or fear, depending who you are), I shall return in 2020.

Here is a picture of my most Christmas-y plant - Little John Callistemon, which keeps getting better and better each year and thrives on very light pruning and general neglect.

And another, this time a snapshot of the next door neighbours' decorations. They have been entertaining the local children (large and small) and raising money for local charities for decades and continue to do so despite the fact that Santa suffered a stroke some time ago, which has been quite debilitating for him. The photo doesn't do justice to the lights, which look amazing. Santa's daughter made the kangaroos :)

Happy holidays wherever and whoever you are, especially to all the courageous men and women fighting fires around the country and not forgetting all the people supporting them.

Stay safe.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Fires - follow your plan but expect the unexpected

Sou | 1:50 AM Go to the first of 13 comments. Add a comment
From Mount Beauty Dec 2006
The fires across Australia this year are horrific. Because the smoke is inundating the biggest capital city (not good), people are taking notice (which is good). The fires this season are probably vying for the worst ever experienced in this country. There will be worse to come with more global warming, so it's important to be prepared.

I expect there are a lot of people who've never had an up close and personal experience with fires or smoke, so I figured I'd put some thoughts down from my own experience. I'm not a fire expert but I've been through a few huge fires in my time, including three big ones this century. (If you've got better or different advice, based on your knowledge and experience, don't hesitate to say in the comments below.)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

G'Day - Not today, mate!

Sou | 10:54 PM Go to the first of 62 comments. Add a comment
Australia's politicians from the Liberal, National and Labor parties all vow that now isn't the right time to talk about climate change.

Soon there'll be not the tiniest gap between the droughts, fires, heat waves and floods so they'll be saved from ever having to talk about climate change and what they aren't doing about it.

Courtesy of Australia's national broadcaster:

If you're wondering about some of the references, here's a guide:

  • Karl Stefanovic - I don't know who he is (I don't watch television). I gather he's some tv host who's changed time slots or channels or something. You'll have to Google him if you're interested.
  • Dr Karl - is a popular Australian science lover who is in turn loved by many.
  • Quiet Australians - our Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants to silence any Australians who speak. He only want's to listen to "quiet Australians" because they say nothing, don't make his head hurt and don't interrupt him when he's singing in tongues to his god.

If only Scott Morrison would stop telling his god what to do and start listening to what his god's been telling him for the past few years: Millennium Drought, Canberra fires, Black Saturday fires, Alpine fires, big wets and big dries, dead fish, dried up rivers, towns out of water - and all the other weather catastrophes this century including the current ones.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

To fly or not? Fashion, peer pressure and societal impacts

Sou | 12:29 AM Go to the first of 34 comments. Add a comment
I don't think I've previously written about flight shame or flight shaming or whatever you want to call it and I see it occupies the minds of many people. So here are some random thoughts on the subject.

There are a lot of issues bound up in this. I'm not advocating anything one way or another. What an individual does to reduce their personal carbon footprint is their own decision. It's worth saying that multiple personal decisions can eventually add up to societal change. Also worth noting there is a lot of peer pressure involved, with some people arguing that flying is hypocritical or anti-social or whatever. This pressure can become a force for societal change as happened with smoking tobacco, sun-bathing, littering, recycling and other behaviours and attitudes over the years.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Climate scientists - respect, but don't be afraid of policy

Sou | 11:16 PM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment
There has been some discussion in the Twittersphere about how or whether climate scientists should wade in on climate policy. I'm guessing that this is of most concern to early to mid-career scientists and/or academics who have not had much, if any, exposure to policy development. Some scientists at a senior level do get involved in providing policy input and advice, either through advancement (e.g. job promotion in a government agency) or by being co-opted onto one or more government advisory committees (e.g. senior academics).

Thought I'd add my two bobs worth since I've had some experience in the policy area.

The tweet that started the thread was from climate scientist Kate Marvel (and another here).

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

It's time to pull the plug on our long-running CO2 experiment

Sou | 3:06 PM Go to the first of 39 comments. Add a comment
In the last 140 years or so, humans have added almost 1,000,000,000,000 tonnes of CO2 to the air (equivalent), or 1,000 billion tonnes. It would have been more except for oceans and land absorbing around half of it.

We are adding a lot of CO2 to the air

This leads me to talk about one of the many misconceptions thrown around by climate disinformers. Some deniers wrongly claim our CO2 emissions add little to atmospheric CO2. How they could ever think that is a mystery. It's not a secret that CO2 is a product of burning hydrocarbons. (Some are very confused, mixing up various numbers they've heard and tossing them back together in strange and wrong patchwork.)

Friday, October 11, 2019

Denier quote of the day: Why should I waste 24 minutes..(learning climate)

Sou | 11:16 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment
The Twitter conversations I've written about before is giving more insight into the denial crowd. The bots and trolls are ramping up as the US election campaign gears up. (It goes on forever, doesn't it. The election is still more than a year away.) Among the bots there are some real people. One of them was happy to summarise the denier's stance.

I wouldn't devote even 24 minutes to learn science

Someone put up a chart purporting to show CO2 and temperature going back 4.5 billion years. I doubt the person tweeting it understood it. They said they got the picture from another denier called Nasif Nahle, who even put a copyright on it! It didn't matter. According to deniers, the tweet was from an acceptable denier so it must mean the greenhouse effect is a hoax.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Do your bit - help with a survey of climate blog readers

Sou | 11:38 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment
How about helping out some researchers by taking a survey of climate blog readers. It's for a project being done jointly by researchers at Cambridge University and Wageningen University. The results will be made available to me and every one who completes the survey so, with luck, we all might learn something and HotWhopper could be better for it. And before you ask, it has ethics approval and yes, the survey is anonymous, responses confidential etc etc.

It'll only take up to about 10 minutes or so. If you start and get interrupted, I'm told you can save where you're up to and finish it later.

So don't hold back - go for it. It's in a very good cause.


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Friday, October 4, 2019

A short primer on global energy flows, for the twitter deniers

Sou | 2:56 PM Go to the first of 35 comments. Add a comment
Energy balancing when no forcing
There have been two or three people on the climate denial conversation on Twitter who cannot conceptualise global energy flows. Remember, almost all the deniers in this particular conversation are greenhouse effect deniers who don't "believe" physics and chemistry. Nonetheless they've discovered a wonky diagram in the deniosphere somewhere and have asked how it works. The short answer is, it doesn't. Not the way it's portrayed in their diagram.

Dr Kevin Trenberth has kindly allowed me to publish this updated global energy flow schematic, which is about to be published. (I'll post the doi when it is available.) Here it is, with an explanation below:

Sunday, September 22, 2019

More twittery nonsense from climate disinformers: In fact, the world is heating up!

Sou | 1:00 PM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment
There are one or two long-running denier conversations on Twitter. Here is another example of how they operate as illustrated by a tweeter called "StenchJudi".

Despite all the evidence showing the world is rapidly heating up, someone will tweet something outrageously wrong, such as "it's been cooling for twenty years". The only way they can rationalise such a ridiculous statement is by fudging the data, and claiming real observations are "fake".

The chart below shows how the global temperature has changed over the past twenty years, from 1999 to 2018:

There is no excuse for spreading disinformation about climate

Sou | 9:47 AM Go to the first of 2 comments. Add a comment
This is a personal note about how I consider hard-core deniers and disinformers to be as bad as the worst of the worst of humanity. They are comparable to Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh and other horrors in that they want to harm people and take pleasure in the thought of civilisation destroying itself.

There is no excuse for anyone these days to doubt climate change or to not accept that we are causing it. In simple terms which everyone should know by now, we are burning more fossil fuel and adding more greenhouse gases to the air. This results in less energy going to space than is coming in from the sun. Our planet is heating up. Ice is melting, seas are rising, storms are more intense and heat waves are hotter. This is killing people, reducing our capacity to grow food, and causing a great deal of harm already. It will get worse before it gets better.

If a serial climate disinformer doesn't like being compared to mass murderers, then they should ask themselves why they are working so hard to bring about death and destruction. Or, they can change their behaviour and stop acting as if they want to. (Today there was a very unpleasant denier who objected to this comparison. He is a long term disinformer about climate change and has now been banned from this blog, so you won't see his comments or my response.) [Update: That particular disinformer just sent a comment to let me know he and his hard-core denier bloggers follow in the footsteps of "Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot...", or words to that effect.]

Just wanted to put that out there.

(See also: Marginalised, alienated and put upon: climate science deniers are not innocent)

Friday, September 20, 2019

Climate strike in Albury, Australia

Sou | 5:44 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment
There are climate strikes all around the world in a wonderful display of unity and hope, tinged with hopelessness. In Albury, there were school students, infants, and adults of all ages and from all walks of life. The day was sunny and, as if it was sending a message, was the warmest day of September so far, recording 24.9 C (77F) at 2:30 pm, which is around 7 C above the average maximum for the month.

The students were an inspiration. They were knowledgeable and committed to taking Australians to task for not addressing climate change. The crowd was enthusiastic and supportive. After the event, you'd not know hundreds of people had assembled there - the lawns were probably more spotless after the event than before.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Denier twittery weirdness, with CO2 is a very cold gas

Sou | 8:41 PM Go to the first of 22 comments. Add a comment
CO2 sublimation
Over the last few days I've been spending some time on a long-running denier thread on Twitter. It was an opportunity to interact with the types you see at the climate conspiracy blog WUWT, but in an environment where it's much less likely anyone will be banned for posting science.

This article is to let you know about some of what I've learned about denier twitterers, with a new "theory" as a bonus.

Deniers yearn for attention from sciency types

One thing struck me above everything else. Fake sceptics are starved for attention.

As soon as a science type enters a room full of deniers, they get pounced on. Anyone who's followed comments at WUWT would have noticed the same thing. (Anthony Watts, the owner of WUWT, himself has demonstrated a yearning for recognition from scientists. That he can't get the type of recognition he wants has been a source of frustration to him.)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

We need to save the Amazon, but not for the sake of oxygen

Sou | 2:13 AM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment
There's been a crazy meme circulating in the media about oxygen. Let's fix that.

To their credit, quite a number of media outlets have been writing about the apparent reversal of the decline in the destruction of the Amazon rainforests.

Okay, that was a mouthful. Back in past decades the Amazon rainforest was being destroyed at a phenomenal pace. Local people became concerned and eventually they were heard around the world. Finally there was an turnaround or, I should say, the rate of destruction slowed substantially. Now it's picking up again and this is a very bad thing.

The problem with many of the reports is that they include a phrase (sometimes a headline): "The Amazon is often referred to as the planet's lungs, producing 20% of the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere". That's way wrong!

Wildly untruthful at WUWT - Tim Ball did not "win" anything

Sou | 1:27 AM Go to the first of 24 comments. Add a comment
Over at WUWT there's jubilation in the air over...nothing. Anthony Watts is falsely claiming that Tim Ball won a court case. In fact, what happened was Tim Ball got the Court to dismiss the lawsuit because of delay. There was no finding. Tim got a lucky break (so far) and the case was dismissed without any judgement. Professor Mann may (or might not) appeal. Tim's going to be disappointed that Mann won't pay his legal fees. (See update below.)

I'll let Michael Mann correct the fake news.
There have been some wildly untruthful claims about the recent dismissal of libel litigation against Tim Ball circulating on social media. Here is our statement:

The defendant Ball did not “win” the case. The Court did not find that any of Ball’s defenses were valid. The Court did not find that any of my claims were *not* valid.

The dismissal involved the alleged exercise of a discretion on the Court to dismiss a lawsuit for delay. I have an absolute right of appeal. My lawyers will be reviewing the judgment and we will make a decision within 30 days.

The provision in the Court’s order relating to costs does NOT mean that I will pay Ball’s legal fees.

This ruling absolutely does not involve any finding that Ball’s allegations were correct in fact or amounted to legitimate comment. In making his application based on delay, Ball effectively told the world he did not want a verdict on the real issues in the lawsuit.

The reason Tim Ball requested the court stop the case due to "delay" is because he says he's old and sick. He supported his request by claiming no-one listens to his ravings. No-one takes any notice of his defamatory words. The Alexa rating for his blog is low, he says. So he sees himself as an old, sick nobody (or so he claims to the court). A man who's lived a life of no consequence (except to Anthony Watts and his band of inconsequential conspiracy nutters). See here and here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

If global surface temperature keeps rising at the current rate

Sou | 12:45 AM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment
I'm not going to go full-on with some wide-ranging projections, this article is mainly about temperature. It was prompted by something silly written in an article at WUWT, by a random blogger who goes by the name of Larry Kummer.

Larry was musing about how fast it's warming. He nicely put up some facts, based on the NOAA temperature report but then showed the extent of his ignorance about climate change.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Desperate Deniers head for the clouds at WUWT

Sou | 3:23 PM Go to the first of 19 comments. Add a comment
My last article was a report of the latest surface temperature, from NASA. This one is about the lower troposphere changes - and denier dross from WUWT.

I've not spent much time at WUWT in recent months (or here at HotWhopper). The articles there have changed a bit since Anthony Watts took time off. There are a lot more political articles and fewer science articles. Charles the Moderator is in charge but doesn't have a lot of people to write - it's mainly childish Eric Worrall and a petrol-head called David Middleton. Most of the regular WUWT contributors from days gone by have disappeared (justthefacts, Bob Tisdale, Tim Ball etc., and Anthony Watts himself.)

These days, when Charles copies and pastes a press release about a scientific publication, he doesn't have to add the dog-whistling word "claim" at the front of the headline. WUWT readers are now very well trained and understand that if there's a scientific press release it means they are expected to add comments along the lines of "climate science is a hoax" (repeated 100 times or they are put in detention).

Friday, August 16, 2019

Hottest July and hottest month on record

Sou | 5:23 AM Go to the first of 30 comments. Add a comment
Summary: July 2019 was the hottest July on record and the equal hottest month on record. The 12 month period to July 2019 was the third hottest  such period on record.

According to GISS NASA, the average global surface temperature anomaly for July was 0.93 °C, which is 0.08 °C warmer than the previous hottest - July 2016.

Below is a chart of the average of 12 months to July each year. 2019 averaged 0.93 °C above the 1951-1980 mean, which was 0.12 °C cooler than the 12 months to July 2016.

This makes it the third hottest August to July 12 month period on record after 2016 and 2017.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

IPCC Climate Change and Land - on food waste (and diet)

Sou | 9:13 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment
Local vineyard
The most recent IPCC report, Climate Change and Land, was released last week.  The report covers a lot of ground (pardon the pun), including desertification, land degradation and food security.

I've been reading it, slowly. (It's no easier to read than any other IPCC report.) I've also seen a few articles that came out at the same time or shortly after its release.

Over time, I hope to cover more aspects of the IPCC report. Today I'll just comment on one issue that's been picked up around the traps, and that's food waste, and I'll make passing mention of diet. The food waste issue has been raised a few times since the report was released and, in my view, the articles range from fairly good to overly simplified to plain wrong. I'm not about to give easy answers or point to specific articles, just offer some food for thought (don't waste it).

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Don't kill climate deadlines

Sou | 1:14 AM Go to the first of 29 comments. Add a comment
I'm taking some time out from my time out to write about deadlines. Oddly, very oddly IMO, there are objections to deadlines coming from a number of quarters. Deadlines are essential for us to combat climate change. It should be obvious and it seems silly to have to argue the point. But it seems I do.

We are on a collision course with nature, a collision course of our own making. We need to change course. We've started, but we've not done nearly enough yet to prevent major damage. We need to do more and we need to keep planning how and set timelines and targets, otherwise known as deadlines. Then we have to carry out those plans.

We've missed opportunities and are suffering the consequences, with places running out of water, suffering unprecedented heat waves, drought and floods. That's with just over 1 C of warming. Urgent action is needed to avoid much greater harm.

Want to stay below 1.5 C? Then we'll need to cut emissions by 45% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. Willing to accept an overshoot or let the world get a bit hotter? Then adjust those numbers accordingly and prepare to pay even more for disaster recovery and adaptation.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Australians choose a rocky road

Sou | 9:49 AM Go to the first of 45 comments. Add a comment
Australians voted yesterday and, against the odds, decided to opt for speeding up climate change and destroying our wonderful land.

We had two main choices: a plan to invest in a "fair go" future setting the tone for the difficult years ahead; and a choice to defer that investment, wreck our agriculture, and transfer more wealth to the high end of town.

Australians chose the latter.

Don't get me wrong. The Australian Labor Party is far from perfect. It, too, doesn't fully appreciate the damage we are doing to our world. Nor does it fully appreciate the fragility of Australia and the dangers we face. Nevertheless, overall the choices it offered were a lesser evil than those of the Liberal National coalition.

The question is, should Australians and the world suffer because a slim majority voted against the well-being of farmers, fishers, foresters and everyone in our towns and cities? Should we stand by and allow the destruction of our rivers, grasslands, forests and precious seas because that's what slightly more than half the population voted for?

The answer is a partial yes. That's democracy. That's how our society works.

We chose to elect a government that promises continuing economic mismanagement, increasing the divide between rich and poor, delaying technological advances, depriving Australians of modern transport, and ruining our rivers and seas.

The part that is not "yes" is that we don't have to see this election as the "final nail in the coffin" of Australia. It is tempting to fall into the despair trap and believe our fate is sealed forever. It is understandable but unproductive to lie down and accept that we chose to wreck our world and continue on a path of destruction - and that's the end of that.

Now is the time to get up, dust ourselves off, and continue to push for responsible government and responsible action.

Remember that about half the country did vote for a fairer, more compassionate country. Half of us want to repair our damaged rivers, look after our farmland and forests, protect our remaining wildlife, and do what we can to save the reef. Around one in two Australians know that we will sooner rather than later need to work with the rest of the world to deal with climate migration. We will need to continue to produce food, feed and fibre for more people despite the worsening weather. To survive if not thrive we will need to work as a cohesive society, not the divided nation that people like the execrable Peter Dutton want.

That means we must continue to do what we can, but do it better. We need to continue to push for businesses and industries to take the lead where our federal government won't. We need to support the efforts of state governments to expand renewable energy and get off the fossil fuel train. And we need to demand accountability and openness from our politicians. We need to make sure everyone can see the impact of making the rich richer, the poor poorer, and the land and water degraded.

We might not succeed. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

Australians yesterday chose a rocky road, maybe confusing it with the sweet. We could have chosen a slightly smoother (though still rough) path, but we didn't. Let's do what we can to show the world Australia can be better.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

How about changing and clarifying IPCC targets for global mean temperature

Sou | 5:25 PM Go to the first of 29 comments. Add a comment
The aim is to limit global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial temperatures; however, there has long been some contention and confusion around what is meant by the targets of 1.5 C and 2 C.

I don't know that anyone will ever agree on what pre-industrial means exactly, which gives a lot of room for inept leaders to wriggle out of their obligations. That's why I'm suggesting the IPCC and its member countries set and agree on targets where the meaning is clear, tangible, more precise, and to which people can relate more readily.

My idea is to change the simple message of 1.5 C or 2 C above pre-industrial to 1 C or 1.5 C above the 1951-1980 mean.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A portrait of a denier: Sheldon Walker trolls RealClimate

Sou | 11:04 PM Go to the first of 88 comments. Add a comment
While we're trying to cope with this dastardly Australian heat wave, I'm avoiding hard work. Instead, here's some entertainment in the form of a self-portrait of a denier.

I don't know why deniers take offense at being called deniers. After all, all they boast about is how the science is wrong, the scientists are frauds, and they don't "believe in" science. They delight in their denial.

There's an entire post at the climate conspiracy blog WUWT today about how offensive it is for scientists to call science deniers "deniers". The WUWT article is from Sheldon Walker, who's been here in the past to get some tips. On another occasion I wrote about a pickle he got into. He's an odd chap :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

El Niño has been cancelled

Sou | 11:27 PM Go to the first of 50 comments. Add a comment
In case you missed it, the latest ENSO wrap-up from the Bureau of Meteorology has downgraded El Niño status from "alert" to "watch". The atmosphere didn't come to the party and so it's no longer as likely to happen imminently.

An El Niño might still emerge in coming months, based on model outlooks.

From the Bureau:
ENSO Outlook lowered to El Niño WATCH
Recent observations and climate model outlooks suggest the immediate risk of El Niño has passed.

However, there remains an increased likelihood that El Niño will develop later in 2019. The Bureau's ENSO Outlook has therefore moved to El Niño WATCH, meaning there is approximately a 50% chance of El Niño developing during the southern hemisphere autumn or winter.

Tropical Pacific sea surface and sub-surface temperatures remain warmer than average, but since late 2018 they have cooled from El Niño-like values towards ENSO-neutral values. Atmospheric indicators such as cloudiness, trade winds and the Southern Oscillation Index all continue to generally remain within the ENSO-neutral range.

While most climate models indicate ENSO-neutral conditions for the immediate future, the current ocean warmth and likelihood of ongoing warmer than average conditions mean the risk of El Niño remains. Three of eight models suggest that El Niño may establish by mid-2019.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is neutral. The IOD typically has little influence on Australian climate from December to April.

By the way, no matter what some cranks might try to tell you, El Niño isn't what's causing global warming. "It's getting hotter because it's getting hotter" isn't an adequate explanation for climate change!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Trump was only joking - sez WUWT. (Global warming is happening)

Sou | 1:02 PM Go to the first of 21 comments. Add a comment
Are climate science deniers' opinions changing? (Short answer, No, but they are very confused little mites.)

Eric Worrall, a nondescript but prolific "guest" on the conspiracy blog WUWT said that when Donald Trump tweeted about snow and global warming he was only joking. Eric wrote (archived here):
Climate change activists simply cannot seem to handle even a joke which contradicts their obsession, without getting riled about it and providing long boring monologues about why they disagree with whatever was said.